The Marvel Cinematic Universe is rightfully considered to be one of the greatest franchises of all time thanks to its incredible movies, characters and action. One of the most important aspects that I believe helps the MCU stand out so much is its massive amount of incredible actors. From Robert Downey Jr. to Josh Brolin, most of the actors within the MCU give amazing performances and are always well utilized. However, there have been several insanely talented actors who were not used properly. Today, I’m going to list the five most wasted actors in the MCU.
5. Sam Neil (Thor: Ragnarok): While I believe Thor: Ragnarok is easily the best Thor movie and the funniest film in the MCU, it is one of the most notable films to waste a large amount of talented actors, including Rachel House, Zachary Levi and even Matt Damon. However, the actor who I feel that was wasted the most is Sam Neil. Unlike some of the other wasted actors in this movie, it is very easy to miss Neil in the film. We see him portray Odin (Anthony Hopkins) in a play centered on Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Neil makes his cameo in this scene alongside Damon and Luke Hemsworth. Unlike those two actors however, there is never any focus on Neil. At least Damon and Hemsworth get enough time on camera to let the audience notice their cameo. Neil only gets one line and even then he is barely seen. It is a shame that Neil could not have been given a bigger role, as he could have been a great asset to the film.
4. The Cast of Community (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Endgame): While this spot includes five actors, I decided to place the cast of the beloved and massively underrated sitcom Community together instead of talking about them separately since they are basically all wasted in a similar way. Community is possibly the funniest and most clever sitcoms that I have ever seen and a major reason for that is its phenomenal main cast, so it is very disappointing that Danny Pudi, Jim Rash, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong and Yvette Nicole Brown were only given brief cameos. I absolutely adore Joe and Anthony Russo and believe that the MCU films that they have directed are easily the best ones, but I wish that they gave the stars of Community more to do in their movies. I understand that the Russo brothers are mainly including the actors from Community as a brief wink to the audience since they themselves worked on the show, but these are still immensely talented actors who are being underused. Pudi, Rash and Brown only have brief cameos, Glover briefly plays a version of the Prowler who never appears again and Jeong doesn’t even get a line for his cameo. If Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs or even Chevy Chase ever appear in the MCU, I sincerely hope that they are given actual roles.
3. Christopher Eccleston (Thor: The Dark World): Unlike most of the actors on this list, Eccleston actually has a large role in the film that he appears in. However, he is still used very poorly. Eccleston portrays Malekith, the leader of the Dark Elves and the main villain of Thor: The Dark World. You would think an actor like Eccleston would bring a massive amount of charisma to a role like this. Unfortunately, Malekith has very little screen time in the film and is an extremely bland character. The MCU has often been criticized for its underwhelming antagonists. However, most if not all people point to Eccleston’s character as the worst villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even Eccleston does not look back on the role fondly and I honestly can’t say that I blame him. Thor: The Dark World is often considered to be the worst film in the MCU and Eccleston not being used to his full potential is a big reason for that.
2. Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3): You all probably knew that he would be on this list. Before Iron Man 3 came out, I was extremely excited to see Sir Ben Kingsley play the Mandarin when it was announced that he was cast in the role. Not only is Kingsley in my opinion one of the greatest actors of all time, but he was playing the iconic archenemy of Iron Man who also happens to be my favorite Marvel villain from the comics. However, the big twist where he was revealed to just be a goofy actor was a giant slap in the face. It turns out Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) was the true villain of the film who wants revenge for Tony ignoring his business proposition. Pearce is a great actor and all, but Kingsley is a knighted academy award winning performer. It’s honestly no competition in regards as to who I would have preferred to see as the main villain. The Mandarin twist got so much backlash, even to the point of having the MCU introduce “real Mandarin,” who will appear in the upcoming movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings played by Tony Leung. I suppose that’s all fine and good, but the Mandarin is Iron Man’s greatest enemy and not only will we never see the iconic villain clash with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, but Kingsley won’t portray him or anyone important in the MCU because of the awful twist.
1. Evan Peters (WandaVision): When it was announced that the X-Men movies were being rebooted with all future films being canceled, I was not excited. Unlike most people, I loved the X-Men Film Series. Some of their movies may not have been great, but when the films worked, they were not just good. They were amazing. The franchise took risks that I don’t think the MCU will ever take, which made me extremely upset to know that all of the characters were going to be recast and the story surrounding the Essex Corporation would never be resolved. However, when Evan Peters appeared in WandaVision as Quicksilver, my hope for the X-Men was renewed. Even though many people dislike the X-Men movies, nearly everyone agrees that Peters was incredible as Quicksilver and was far better than the one played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, as the show went on, it become very apparent that this was not the same Quicksilver from the X-Men movies. While I was greatly annoyed and disappointed by that, I was still curious to see how Peters would be used. Unfortunately, the show went for the lamest route possible and revealed that Peters was just playing an actor named “Ralph Bohner.” Not only is this a waste of a talent like Peters, but this squanders all of the potential for a multiverse storyline. The showrunner Jac Schaeffer has stated that she never intended to trick audiences into thinking that this was the actual Quicksilver but I honestly don’t believe her. It’s telling that the awful Mandarin twist from Iron Man 3 was her favorite scene from that film. I originally enjoyed WandaVision and appreciated the different feel it had compared to the rest of the MCU. However, now that it has been a while since I first saw the final episode, I have to be honest by saying I no longer think the show is as good as everyone says. I dare even say that I personally think it’s a massively overrated show. I respect WandaVision for trying to be different, but the more I think about the reveal with Peters (as well as many of the awkward performances and poor storytelling), the more I dislike the series. I already wasn’t happy that the MCU was rebooting the X-Men and recasting all the characters, but I am absolutely dreading it now if this is how they are going to treat the franchise that pretty much paved the way for them to get started.